|Notes from the Front Lines: The Gimmick
||[Jan. 31st, 2009|05:17 pm]
International Bon Vivant and Raconteur
The other day, flowers arrived at our office for a colleague. The note read, "To find out who sent these, check your email." We were all excited because we thought maybe she had a secret admirer, but that turned out not to be the case. Instead, the truth was disappointing on an almost epic scale.
The flowers were from a writer trying to get her attention. The email he'd sent was a query that began with something like, "Now that you've received my flowers..." It was all a gimmick, nothing more.
Had the book he was pitching been about flowers, or about romance, I could almost understand it. In fact, I might even think it was clever. But again, that wasn't the case. His book had nothing to do with either. Quite simply, the flowers were a way for him to get his query read immediately, to unfairly jump the line in front of all the other writers whose queries she hadn't gotten to yet and who were waiting patiently.
An extremely expensive way to cut in line, I might add. Flowers ain't cheap!
Did it work? Well, she did read his query right away. But did she follow up with a request that he send the proposal, or the full manuscript? I don't know, and in a way, that's my point. Regardless of how lovely the flowers were, whether or not she or anyone else would be interested in his query has to do with the query itself, and nothing else. Is the idea interesting? If the author included a sample in the email, is the writing any good? Does the author have any kind of pre-existing platform upon which to grow an audience? Is there a market for the book? The exact same questions one would ask about queries from authors who didn't send flowers.
My advice to you, dear writers who are reading this, is to save your money, especially in these hard financial times, but even in good times too. Gimmicks may be attention-grabbing, but they won't get you representation, or publication. Only your book can do that. The best use of your time is to make your book amazing, not thinking up gimmicks.
Unless your book is about how awesome chocolate is and you feel like sending me a proposal accompanied by delicious, delicious chocolate, in which case I'm one hundred percent behind the idea.